B i o g r a p h y

Catherine is a postgraduate vocal student at the Royal College of Music, taught by Rosa Mannion and generously supported by the Kathleen Trust and Olgarhythm. Catherine has been singing since a young age, giving her first concerts from the kitchen table as a young child. She took on a range of projects in secondary school, while under the instruction of Heidi Pegler, including providing musical interludes for a newly restored 16th century play, singing the role of Second Woman in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, and then the role of Belinda in a production at the Lyric Hammersmith.

During her undergraduate degree at the University of St Andrews, Catherine was heavily involved in the musical life of the university and town, and graduated with the Cedric Thorpe-Davie Prize for contributions to music, as well as the Gray Prize for English. She sang four times with the university's semi-professional opera company, Byre Opera, most notably as the title role in Handel's Xerxes, Vixen Sharp-Ears in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, and Miss Jessel in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. She has sung widely in concert both in St Andrews and beyond, making her professional concert debut in 2016 as Judit in Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle with the Edinburgh Symphony Orchestra. With this concert began her love affair with contemporary music, which found many outlets in St Andrews, including premiering Emily Doolittle's 'Conversation' for soprano and chamber orchestra, funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Catherine later toured this work to Orkney with the St Andrews New Music Ensemble. In 2017 she worked on a range of projects: she performed with Dame Emma Kirkby and Dowland Works, singing a variety of small consort music in a historically informed masterclass and concert as a part of the St Andrews Voices Festival; sang ‘Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5’ (Villa-Lobos) with university cellists; worked with the university’s orchestra-in-residence, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, performing as a soloist in a concert of Jeremy Thurlow’s music; and was a soloist for a variety of local ensembles and choirs, including for the Fauré Requiem with St Andrews Chorus and Handel’s Messiah with the Heisenberg Ensemble. Beyond St Andrews, she has performed in two recitals at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, most recently in a concert of Brahms and Liszt song alongside the eminent bass, Brian Bannatyne-Scott.

 

Catherine helped found and later became President of the University of St Andrews Opera Society, with whom she sang Belinda (Dido and Aeneas), Juno (Orpheus in the Underworld) and Lieschen (Coffee Cantata). Since the outset, she helped the society to bring opera into unexpected places, performing in a club, bars, and a coffee shop, and hopes to see the society go from strength to strength in coming years. She is also an experienced choral singer, spending four years as a choral scholar with St Salvator's Chapel Choir in St Andrews, and Senior Chorister in her final year. With the choir she was a regular soloist, including on international tours and recordings, and can be heard on their recent album, Luthersche Leidensmusik, singing the first movement of Bruhns’ Hemmt eure Tränenflut.  She has been a longterm member of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, and more recently the National Youth Chamber Choir, and has performed in numerous high-profile concerts with both groups, such as the BBC Proms. Most recently, Catherine has sung with Emmanuel College Chapel Choir in Cambridge, while she studied for her MPhil degree.

Catherine has worked with a range of teachers and conductors. She currently studies with Julie Kennard in London and Bertie Rice in Cambridge. She has received instruction and masterclasses from, among others, Patricia MacMahon, Kevin Thraves, John Graham-Hall, Brian Bannatyne-Scott, Marie McLaughlin, and Anthony Roden. She has done choral work with Sir James MacMillan, Robert Hollingworth, Stephen Cleobury, Stephen Layton, Ben Parry, Paul Mealor, Morten Lauridsen, and many others.

Reviews

"Catherine Hooper, is still an undergraduate at St Andrews, and gave a performance of astonishing maturity, tackling the role's difficult, exposed lines with ease."

Judit in Duke Bluebeard's Castle (Bartók), in concert with Edinburgh Symphony Orchestra

Opera Scotland (November 2016)

"[...] a hugely impressive piece of work for such a young group of performers. [...] Chris Huggon as Quint and Catherine Hooper as Miss Jessel, darkly attired, caught the attention. [...] Caroline Taylor, Catherine Hooper and Rebecca Anderson gave beautifully sung and strongly characterised performances."

Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw (Britten), Byre Opera

Opera Scotland (July 2016)

"[...] a very elegant compact touring version [...]. Even better, the singers have the characterisation to match, as well as the mime skills. The manifestation of Quint (Chris Huggon) and Miss Jessell (Catherine Hooper) here are very real."

4 stars

Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw (Britten), Byre Opera

Keith Bruce, Herald Scotland (June 2016)

Photographs by Jessica Cooper
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